The SRLA Friendship Run is a yearly race held mostly for the kids of SRLA but the public is welcome as well and it is the qualifier for the kids to be able to run the LA Marathon. I decided that this would be a good test to see if my injury was healing and I was able to run 18 miles, pain free. This would be the longest distance that I have ever run and a jump from my longest post injury run of 10 miles.
I arrived at Hansen Dam around 6:15am and headed over to register. I got my bib and headed back to the car to gather my backpack. I wandered around looking for the Mt. Gleason Runners and their coach Craig. Once I found their tent, I found Chris and Craig and introduced myself. I have been following them on twitter for a while but this was the first time we actually met in person...a tweetup! While Craig was readying his kids for the run, Chris and I talked for a bit and did some stretching. Soon after, photographer, Rich Cruse came by and I was introduced to him and we talked cameras for a bit. After a few photos and a pep talk from Coach Craig, I made my way to the starting line.
The race started right at 8am and the crowd shuffled forward to the starting line. We headed out of the park and onto the surrounding streets. About 3/4 mile in, I could feel the pace was a bit fast...Mile 1 - 9:20. I kept trying to dial back the speed but just couldn't seem to slow down. Miles 2-7 I was averaging 9:30/mile, I was shooting for 10:30-11:00/mile pace. I finally was able to slow my pace around mile 8. Miles 8-12, average pace was 10:30/mile. I was feeling pretty good, there was no pain from the recent groin injury.
Midway through mile 13 is where the wheels fell off...I was tired, the bottom of my right foot was starting to hurt, almost like running on sandpaper. I had to walk for a bit, I tried to shake it off, downed another Gu with some Cytomax and continued on. I started to feel better miles 14 and 15 and was running a comfortable pace. I was starting to get the feeling of a cramp coming on in my left achilles and it was worse when I would slow to a walk. I took another Gu along with Gatorade and tried to start running again...my body didn't want to run. I walked for close to a half mile before running again. I continued that run/walk interval until the last half mile and then ran it across the finish. During the last 200 yards, I felt that my left calf and hamstring were getting ready to cramp...I could feel it coming on, fortunately, it never did. I got my medal, t shirt and some food and headed over to the Mt. Gleason tent where I chatted with Chris, Rich and Craig for a few minutes before heading home. Once home, I stood waist deep in my pool for about 10 minutes...did that feel good.
I learned a lot from this run and it has made me re-think some things, but at this point, I will try and run the LA Marathon. I found that I was dehydrated and although I was consuming Cytomax and Gatorade, I was short on electrolytes and will try S Caps, Endurolytes or Salt stick on my 20 mile run on Saturday. I also found that the socks I have been wearing are not really suitable for long distances...at least for me, so I will try some others with a bit more cushioning. The biggest thing that I learned...I need to slow my pace dramatically. I will work on that this weekend when I attempt to get a 20 mile run in.
Enough about me...let's talk about the kids and adult leaders in SRLA for a minute. Until Sunday, the only experience that I have had with SRLA kids is when I run past them during my training runs and occasionally see them at a local race. I have never said much more than hello or good morning in passing on the streets. During the race, I chatted with several kids and found them to be truly amazing. I saw one kid who was in a wheelchair, not a racing wheelchair, but a regular hospital type wheelchair pushing himself on the course. As I ran by, I gave him a thumbs up and said good job, he looked up, cracked a smile and kept on going. Many of the adult leaders were offering words of encouragement to the kids, helping them to keep focused on finishing. The volunteers were awesome as well...either working the water stations or the ones just there to cheer, it was all welcome and they deserve a big "Thank You". This is one race that I think I will try and add to my calendar for next year.
You can see all of Rich Cruse's Photos from the Friendship Run here.
Update: Final Results 3:20:44 (11:09/mile)
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